Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, the Democratic lawyer and Clinton ally who hired Fusion GPS to compile the notorious Trump dossier, was scheduled to testify Thursday in New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s ongoing corruption trial.
Defense lawyers hoped Elias would rebut charges that Menendez lied on financial disclosures forms for failing to disclose a number of free airplane rides on a donor’s private plane. Federal prosecutors claim that the donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, purveyed a stream of benefits for Menendez, who took various actions to bolster Melgen’s medical practice in exchange.
U.S. District Judge William Walls ultimately blocked Elias’ testimony, concluding it was inadmissible hearsay.
An aide to the senator, Robert Kelly, was responsible for compiling a comprehensive travel log for the disclosure forms in question. Kelly says he did not include the Melgen flights because he believed they were covered by a “friendship exemption.” He added that the travel records were hastily compiled in response to a 2012 press report concerning Menendez’s relationship with the donor and their alleged salacious exploits at Melgen’s compound in the Dominican Republic.
The story Kelly referenced was The Daily Caller’s exclusive report that Melgen, organized booze-fueled sex romps with local prostitutes for Menendez at his Casa de Campo villa. The senator vigorously denies TheDC’s report.
Elias supervised Kelly’s work, and was prepared to testify as to the compilation and disclosure process.
The Washington Post reports that Menendez’s fellow New Jersey Democrat, Sen. Cory Booker, and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are also slated to appear Thursday. The pair will testify to Menendez’s good character.
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